As flood waters continue to grip parts of the UK, and with more bad weather predicted for this weekend, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is issuing advice for those who may be affected.
This advice is set out in three stages. It includes:
• Checking a flood risk map for rivers and the sea; drawing up a flood plan in case of an emergency; and signing up for flood warnings and alerts through the Environment Agency
• Using flood protection products such as sandbags and switching off water, gas and electricity at the mains when water is about to enter your property
• Checking on vulnerable neighbours including the elderly and families with young children
• Removing damaged electrical appliances away from flooded areas
• Not using petrol or diesel-powered generators, dehumidifiers and pressure washers indoors without adequate ventilation as their exhaust gases can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
• Not drinking, cooking, washing or cleaning crockery in flood water due to pollution and contamination
• Not driving into flood waters wherever possible, or otherwise keeping an emergency kit in the car in case you become stranded
• Not entering moving flood water and taking care if you do have to venture into standing flood water
• Not turning electricity and gas supplies back on until you have had professional advice that it is safe to do so
• Wearing protective equipment while cleaning up due to the risks associated with contaminated water
• Seeking qualified, professional advice on repairing damage and restoration work, including using a registered electrician and Gas Safe registered engineer.
RoSPA has a wealth of information to help families in areas affected by flooding during the current or future events, which is accessible through the charity’s Flood Hub web page www.rospa.com/floodadvice
The online web page also contains details of emergency numbers to call and links to further sources of information, including how to avoid aquaplaning on wet roads and knowing what to do if you end up stranded in deep water in your car.
Tom Mullarkey, chief executive of RoSPA – the UK’s leading accident prevention charity, said: “Whilst much of the focus is on damage to property, the risk to the safety and the health of those affected must be the nation’s top priority. Over the last week, we have been responding to individual requests for flood-related information and advice, and our new Flood Hub covers many of the issues that people have been asking us about. It is packed full of sensible safety advice.
“It is always a difficult decision to leave your home, but by staying, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. The police and emergency services, with their expertise and knowledge, are there to advise you. People have been coming together to look after each other – this challenge also gives us a chance to be the best of ourselves.”